Great Family Adventures: Adventure Out's 'Ancient Desert Survival Skills Backpacking Trip'

Yes, we know: The family vacation is a much-parodied event, and perhaps rightfully so. But fumbles, foibles, and hassles aside, families keep taking them for the same good reason: They’re priceless sources of memories.

    Photo: Courtesy of Adventure Out

HIGHLIGHTS: Over four days in Southern California’s Colorado Desert, your family will master desert survival skills like finding water, building shelter, creating fire by friction, making stone tools, and preparing food. On the last night, everyone is encouraged (but not required) to spend a solo night out. Immersion and presence of mind are important themes of this trip: To foster full appreciation for the desert landscape, time is set aside for introspection, journaling, and drawing. This experience is recommended for ages 13 and older—for the younger folk, there’ll be no issue keeping up: The trip doesn’t cover too much ground, focusing instead on developing outdoor skills and backcountry confidence.

OUTFITTER: Adventure Out is a small, environmentally-responsible company which started leading just-for-women adventures in 2002 but has since expanded to include children and men.

ITINERARY: Stays in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

DATES: May 2, though other departure dates can be arranged.

PRICE: $395 per person, including all meals, guidance and instruction, permits, and fees (but not transportation or equipment rental).

INFO:, (800) 509-3954.

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